Getting to the top in show biz–and staying thereBy Nestor Torre
Philippine Daily Inquirer
As the cliché goes, many are called, but only a precious few are chosen—and that tattered truism is particularly true for prospective show biz luminaries.
Each entertainment season, literally scores of fresh-faced, bushy-tailed new “talents” go from total unknowns to so-called “starlets,” or aspiring players. They do their best (and sometimes their worst) to get noticed and thus stand out in the madding and maddening throng of desperately smiling hopefuls.
For practically all of them, starlethood is meant to be only a temporary way station on their upwardly ascendant route to “stardom.” Truth to tell, however, nine out of 10 starlets are unable to move or “level” up, and remain trapped on the feckless fringes of show business sometimes for years, before they throw in the towel and become spa attendants or personal trainers!
New stars are therefore exceptions to the desultory rule—so, what can frustrated hopefuls do to improve their chances of making it, despite all the daunting disappointments involved?
First, realize that, while good looks help, they definitely don’t guarantee success. You also need to have talent, discipline, connections, a team of backers and trainers, funds to finance your start-up campaign—and, most important of all, the overwhelming hilig or drive to become an entertainer, contra mundum.
It is this unrelenting drive that will enable you to survive all of the snubs, unfulfilled promises, exploitative treatment, acts of outright deception and other major disappointments that lurk on the way to the (improbable) actualization of your fond dream or fantasy of stardom!
Even if you do achieve star status, against all odds, you can’t afford to relax, because one starring role does not a stellar career make.
You and your handlers have to immediately line up your follow-up projects, to take full advantage of your initial surge in popularity.
You could be just a novelty with the abridged life span of a fruit fly, a “luminary” of decidedly low and temporary wattage, so you’ve got to work doubly hard to sustain your stellar glow and appeal by way of inspired promotions and career management. Otherwise, you could go from rising star to instant has-been in less than a year!
We hope, of course, that most new stars are able to avoid the land mines of success and are kept profitably occupied with all sorts of show biz assignments. But, even established stars still can’t afford to take it easy and rest on their comfy, cushy laurels and nest eggs.
They become popular by playing a signature role, but such characters have an increasingly brief shelf life these days, no thanks to shorter attention spans and fans’ less reliable loyalties.
So, stars have to keep surprising viewers by tackling a greater variety of roles.
That’s why some “sweet” types decide to “go sexy,” screen heroes opt to occasionally portray antiheroes or downright villains, or nonsingers try to cut an album.
Trouble is, some luminaries’ attempts at versatility turn out to be embarrassing flops, and the overreaching stars’ careers can’t survive the embarrassment.
So, it’s back to the drawing boards and the salt mines—for another eventual crack at the vaunted dream of sustained stardom!
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